By Erica Laceria on Sep 10, 2016 @ 10:06 AM
Visiting the dentist is an important part of life, but for many people, walking through the doors of a dental office is frightening. It’s good to know that there are many people that share similar feelings. According to WebMD, between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid dentists out of fear or anxiety. If you're one of them, here are some helpful tips:
- Find a Supportive Dentist
Don't be embarrassed to tell the dentist and staff how you feel. They should be supportive and answer all your questions. If you want to go a step further, ask for a detailed list of what the procedure includes so you can be fully prepared.
- Establish a Relationship with a Dentist Beforehand
Chances are you will feel much more comfortable if you have gotten to know the dentist before treatment. During such a visit, the dentist may perform a simple examination in order for you to develop your confidence for further treatment such as teeth cleaning.
- Book an Early Appointment
Book one of the earliest appointments possible so you don't have to stress about the visit all day. The longer you wait, the more your mind will wander and you may even talk yourself out of going!
- Take a Distraction
While you're in the waiting room, reading a book or magazine can help calm your nerves. During your treatment, consider holding onto a stress ball as many patients find it helpful for relieving tension. For a longer procedure, ask the dentist if it's okay to listen to music or an audiobook on your phone or tablet.
- Take a Friend or a Family Member
Taking a close friend or family member can go a long way in calming your nerves. Have them entertain you in conversation, jokes or anything that will take your mind off of the dentist.
- Close Your Eyes During Treatment
Not seeing dental instruments or a needle is often helpful. If you’re curious and feel the need, ask the dentist to explain what the tools he/she uses are for. Knowing the purpose of the instruments might help your mind from thinking the worst.
- Take Breaks
You can take a break during a procedure if it becomes too overwhelming for you. Talk to the dentist about this option so he knows this may be something you wish to do.
- Identify a Stop Signal
Identifying a stop signal is common between dentists and nervous patients. The signal can be something such as a raised hand that will tell him to stop the procedure.
- Treat Yourself After
Deciding on a way to treat yourself after your appointment will give you something to look forward to after you're out of the dental chair. It can be whatever you enjoy such as getting a massage, dining at your favorite restaurant, or seeing a movie.
While we can’t promise that you'll overcome your fear of the dentist will completely, we are confident that these tips will help put your nerves at ease and have a better mindset when the time comes!